Monday, October 26, 2009

Cow Tongue

Dear Family,

Nihon is wonderful! I`m understanding more Nihongo each day and am slowly being able to speak more. My companion is very patient with me and is helping me learn the language!

Today was the 2nd day it`s rained in Izumi since I`ve been here--it comes pouring down! I`m learning how to ride my bike in the rain, in a skirt, and up the many hills of Izumi.

The work is moving forward here in Izumi. Each day Tani Shimai and I do our best to find those who are ready to hear the gospel. It`s wonderful to teach the gospel to these people, and see the changes that take place in their lives as they come unto Christ! Ishii san was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting, and two new investigators came to church for the first time, where they were fellowshipped by the members and want to come back! One of them will be baptized in a few weeks--Ota san. She is 83 years old and believes in God and knows that getting baptized is the right thing to do.

I`m grateful for the Japanese people, and their faith--it strengthens me! The Lord is blessing me so much; I understand so much more Nihongo than when I came here 2 1/2 weeks ago!

Sorry this e-mail is short, but I`m out of time. I`ll write more next week!

Swain Shimai

PS. I`m trying lots of Japanese food that my companion makes for me and members make, and it`s great! The other day we had cow tongue, Sendai`s specialty food, at Ishii san`s`s not too bad!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Whole New World!

Dear Family and Friends,

It`s wonderful to be in Japan! It is really a whole new world and culture, very different than what I`ve grown up in! Everything is smaller--streets, (bicycle lanes:), food portions, and the people (I feel like a giant sometimes)! But it is wonderful! I`m getting used to the way things work here, one day at a time.

The people here are so kind! I have the best trainer in the world, Tani Shimai from Osaka. She is really a wonderful missionary and person, and I am learning so much from her. We had a baptismal service yesterday for one of her former investigators! It was so wonderful! Even though I couldn`t understand most of what was being said, the same Spirit was there. This is God`s work!

I am serving in the Izumi district, a little suburb of Sendai. There is a ward here in Izumi, with very kind ward members! There are 2 elders also serving in this area--one of them was in my class at the MTC and came over with me to Japan last week.

I love being here, and am learning to love the Japanese people and understand them--even though my language skills are just beginning (I most always don`t understand what they`re saying!), I love them and I think they feel that! Each day, as I help invite them to come unto Christ--with my limited Japanese, inviting them to church/be taught--I know that the Lord is preparing those who are ready to hear the message of the restored gospel!

My 2nd day here, I was a bit cold and hungry and hadn`t understood very much Japanese...but then it hit me! My being here in Japan wasn`t about me or what I want! I know that I`m here to serve God, and I have faith that God will prepare the way! What I want is not important--serving God is iichiban (#1) important!

I will continue each day to do everything I can to further His work here, with faith that my Nihongo skills will become what they need to be. The Lord always prepares a way for us to accomplish His work!

Thanks for your love and prayers. I love all of you! Konnichiwa from Nihon!

Swain Shimai

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Safe in Japan!

Dear family and friends,

I'm safely here in Nihon!!! It was wonderful talking to you--I'm so sorry mom and dad I couldn't talk to you longer--I tried calling back later but I think you were on the plane.

The Lord blesses His missionaries--He blessed Andrus Choro and I to get here safely! Thank you for your prayers--they were heard! We weren't informed at the MTC that we'd have to pick up our luggage in the Toykyo airport, re-check them in to fly to Sendai--and the luggage requirements were different--they wouldn't let me carry on my violin! But, we were running late and were about to miss our flight, so they didn't make us pay for the extra carry-on Andrus Choro had that wouldn't fit on the Sendai plane (it fit on the American ones)--and they strapped my violin in a big box, promised to take good care of it, and didn't make me pay for it! We ran through security and made it on the last flight to Sendai--the Lord's angels were there helping us get through (plus the Japanese people were so kind and helpful).

Sendai is beautiful and my mission pres. and his wife are wonderful! I love it here already and feel blessed to be serving the Lord! I played my violin last night at the mission home for the mission pres and his wife, senior missionary couple, and zone leaders--I'm grateful I was able to bring it!

Thanks all for your prayers--I love you so much!

Swain Shimai

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last Week!!!!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

It's hard to believe it's my last week here--time just flew by! I am SO excited to go to Japan next Monday! I'm just praying that I'll be able to fit everything in my suitcases and have them still be under the weight limit!:)

It's been a wonderful and busy week. Last Friday the President of all the MTCs outside the US, Brother Mills, came and spoke to the departing missionaries going to Japan. He'd served in Japan, so he spoke to us about his experiences in Japan, talked about the prophesied progress of the church in Japan (a day later in General Conference we found out about the new temple that will be built in Sapporo, Japan!), and he talked about making our goals and expectations with the Lord. It was an inspiring meeting--he challenged us to speak Japanese ONLY this last week here in the MTC--he said that if we love the Japanese people, we would do it! When he said this, I felt the Spirit strongly that this is what I needed to do--so I've been trying hard to only speak Japanese this week! As I do this, as well as look back on all the Japanese I've learned here, I've realized how much the Lord has blessed me to learn the Japanese language!

Wasn't General Conference wonderful?!! Especially the news about the new Sapporo temple!:) I loved all the talks from the prophet, apostles, and general authorities of our church! I especially loved President Eyring's talk during the Sunday morning session, about becoming like Christ and loving as He did! God wants us to become like Him, so we'll be worthy of living with Him again one day--to do this, we must follow Christ's example! I pray that every day all of us will be a little more like Him--that we'll love as He loved, say what He would say, and think and do what He would do!

This gospel is true--I know this without a doubt!! God loves all of us, his children! That is why Joseph Smith restored the gospel--because God loves us and knew we needed the strength of the gospel in these latter days!

I love all of you and pray for you daily!

Swain Shimai